Over 28,000 people die from air pollution in the UK every year Credit: Matt Dunham/AP

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Tetovo in Macedonia was the most polluted European city in the database, followed by Tuzla in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The most polluted city in the UK isn’t actually London. Glasgow topped that list, followed by Scunthorpe and Leeds with London in sixth place.

By Ashley Kirk and Patrick Scott , Data Journalists    8 November 2017

Pollution is a greater global threat than Ebola and HIV, according to warnings by the World Health Organisation.

According to its recent report, one in four deaths among children aged under five are now due to environmental hazards such as air pollution and contaminated water.

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WHO guidelines state that cities should aim to have an annual average of no more than 10 micrograms of PM2.5 (very fine particulate matter) for every cubic metre of air. London had an annual PM2.5 average of 15 μg/min 2013, far lower than Beijing’s average of 85.2 μg/m3.

These particles are very small in diameter and are classed as carcinogenic by leading health organisations. Thousands of deaths a year are attributable to air pollution in the UK.

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Previously this year, air pollution levels in London were worse than those in Beijing for a brief period – with the UK capital’s pollutants frequently breaking UK limits. Now, the UK Government plans to tackle such dangers by banning diesel and petrol cars by 2040.

But how bad is air pollution in other areas of the UK?

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), London is just a mid-table city when it comes to the international league table of polluted places.

London only ranked 1,389th out of the nearly 3,000 cities and towns around the world monitored in the WHO’s database of annual air pollution readings.

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